Last week, on our way to Aric’s hometown, we had planned to visit Bukit Melawati in Kuala Selangor, but it was quite hazy that day, so we decided to cancel that plan. What to do instead? According to Aric there was an interesting Chinese temple, somewhere in the paddy fields near Sekinchan. How to find its location?
Nowadays that is easy, just take your smartphone, go to the Internet , Google for “temple Sekinchan” and hey presto, you even get a map..:-) Plus lots of extra information, for example that in 1953 (during the Emergency!) the Sekinchan farmers were relocated in three new villages, still named site A, B and C.
Here is a GE screenshot of this small Teochew village and the paddy fields. The fishing village (Bagan) in the lower left and Site A at the upper right. This image was taken in Februart 2012, when the paddy fields were barren. Interesting pattern, almost art…:-) During our visit, the seedlings had been planted, but many fields did not look healthy, the irrigation channels almost dry.
The Nan Tian temple in Site A is also called the Nine Emperor Gods temple, and attracts lots of visitors, especially during the 9th month of the Chinese calendar. Even now there was a bus from KL with devotees. From far away the temple complex is visible already.
The location is very attractive. You can climb the towers in front of the main hall, from where you have a nice view of the surrounding paddy fields, although this time it was quite hazy.
Here are a few more pictures of the temple interior.
We have to come back on a clear day…:-). There are also good seafood restaurants in Sekinchan.
The reason to visit Aric’s hometown, was that there was a Taoist temple festival in the nearby fishing village of Bagan Parit Baru. Once a year in these Teochew villages the anniversary of the temple god is celebrated. A group of actors is invited to perform Chinese opera, there are prayers and offerings. Here you see the huge joss sticks outside the temple, with the Bernam river in the background.
During the past years I have attended several of these temple festivals and slowly learned to appreciate Chinese opera…:-) I understand that in the past these performances attracted big crowds, but now many (young) people have left the villages, so the audience mostly consists of senior citizens and kids.
We came back the next morning, for the offering and praying.
Even in the morning, the opera was going on. When I was walking around the stage, one of the actors noticed me and asked me to come backstage. I felt a bit shy, so I took only a few pictures. Some actors waiting their turn to go on stage, others are working on their make-up, or putting on their costume. During the festivities, the group is camping next to the theater. How I would love to stay with them a few days and make a picture report! But there would be a insurmountable language barrier.
As a part of the praying ceremony, also the actors took part, walking in a procession to the temple. Fascinating